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JD-U calls Bihar legislators' meeting, CM refuses to resign

JD-U calls Bihar legislators meeting, CM refuses to resign

Patna: JD-U president Sharad Yadav Thursday called a meeting of party legislators Feb 7, amid speculation that Jitan Ram Manjhi will be removed as the Bihar chief minister and replaced by Nitish Kumar. Manjhi refused to resign and termed the meeting "illegal".

Manjhi openly revolted against his party, questioned the decision and refused to resign as chief minister. He said he will not attend the meeting called by Yadav as it was "illegal".

"Reports of my likely tendering resignation are baseless," he said in a press statement.

Janata-Dal-United national general secretary K.C. Tyagi said Yadav has the right as party president to call a meeting of party legislators.

"Manjhi was nominated as chief minister by Nitish Kumar after JD-U legislators authorised him to name a leader," Tyagi said.

Yadav has already held closed-door meetings with Manjhi, Nitish Kumar and other senior party leaders since Wednesday.

A party leader said nothing was clear about the agenda of the meeting called by Yadav, while another said the JD-U leadership was keen to know the mood of the legislators before taking any final decision whether to continue with Manjhi or replace him ahead of the assembly polls scheduled later this year.

The JD-U has 115 legislators in the 243-member assembly. It is supported by 24 legislators of Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal, five of the Congress, one from the Communist Party of India and two independents -- that is more than the simple majority figure of 122.

The opposition BJP has 88 legislators and it enjoys the support of three independents. Five seats are vacant at present.

Earlier in the day, Manjhi said he was working under pressure amid reports that he would be removed.

"I am working under pressure," Manjhi said at a public meeting in Jehanabad district.

Manjhi refuted reports that he was likely to resign. "It's all a media creation that I will resign."

Sharad Yadav had also made it clear that there was no plan to replace Manjhi. "At present, it is not in our agenda at all," he told the media in Patna.

Nitish Kumar, however, refused to say anything on the issue.

Asked whether Manjhi would be removed, he replied: "I have nothing to say."

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